Shanahan calls on Pentagon leaders to 'reinforce the apolitical nature' of US military

Shanahan calls on Pentagon leaders to 'reinforce the apolitical nature' of US military
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Acting Defense Secretary Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanHouse Armed Services chairman expresses confidence in Esper amid aircraft carrier coronavirus crisis Boeing pleads for bailout under weight of coronavirus, 737 fallout Esper's chief of staff to depart at end of January MORE sent two memos intended to affirm the “apolitical nature” of the military Tuesday, according to CNN.

The move follows reports the White House Military Office coordinated with the Navy’s Seventh Fleet to hide the USS John McCain from President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump suggests some states may 'pay nothing' as part of unemployment plan Trump denies White House asked about adding him to Mount Rushmore Trump, US face pivotal UN vote on Iran MORE’s view during the president’s visit to Japan.

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“Those of us privileged to serve our Nation, in and out of uniform, in the DoD must be the epitome of American values and ethics. Our mission, to protect and defend the Nation, is apolitical," Shanahan wrote in one of Tuesday's memos.

"I call on leaders at all levels in the Department to reinforce the apolitical nature of military and civilian service and professionalism, while ensuring all personnel remain free to exercise the responsibilities of citizenship as laws and regulations allow," he added.

After the initial reports regarding the USS John McCainJohn Sidney McCainBill Maher delivers mock eulogy for Trump Hillary Clinton roasts NYT's Maureen Dowd over column CNN's Ana Navarro to host Biden roundtable on making 'Trump a one-term president' MORE, Shanahan said the request was not ultimately carried out but insisted “there’s no room for politicizing the military.”

"Our business is to run military operations and not to become politicized," Shanahan told reporters in May during a news conference in Singapore.

"I'll wait until I get a full explanation of the facts before I pass judgment on the situation, but our job is to run the military," he added.

Shanahan expressed similar sentiments in the memos, according to CNN.

The Defense Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

A defense official told the network a decision has not yet been made as to whether anyone will be penalized for asking the Navy to hide the ship during Trump’s visit.

Acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyFauci says positive White House task force reports don't always match what he hears on the ground Bottom line White House, Senate GOP clash over testing funds MORE said Sunday that the attempt to hide the ship was “not unreasonable.”

"The fact that some 23- or 24-year-old person on the advance team went to that site and said, 'Oh my goodness. There's the John McCain. We all know how the president feels about the former senator. Maybe that's not the best backdrop. Can somebody look into moving it?' That's not an unreasonable thing to ask," Mulvaney said.